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Best places to see the northern lights

Oct. 16, 2012, 5:54 p.m.
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Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali National Park in Alaska might not be the first place you'd want to spend a cold autumn or winter evening. However, when viewed from this location, the northern lights are as spectacular as they are anywhere in the world. The show can start as early as late August, when the long summer days of the far-northern latitudes end, and the aurora borealis becomes visible in the night sky.

Northern lights-seekers who get to Denali early in the season can avoid the harsh winter weather and still get to see the lights show. Denali is relatively easy to get to, but is far enough away from population centers that no form of light pollution will interrupt the views of the sky.

For those who don’t want to venture too far away from civilization, the town of Fairbanks, Alaska, is an equally attractive option. Several tour companies in this city offer nighttime rides out into the countryside for lights viewing. When it comes to forecasting the northern lights, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks is highly respected.